b u y e r b e h a v I o u r - s o c I a I f a c t o r s

IntroductIon
A customer's buyIng behavIour Is also Influenced by socIal factors, such as the groups to whIch the
customer belongs and socIal status.
Ìn a group, several IndIvIduals may Interact to Influence the purchase decIsIon. The typIcal roles In
such a group decIsIon can be summarIsed as follows:
InItIator
The person who fIrst suggests or thInks of the Idea of buyIng a partIcular product or servIce
InfIuencer
A person whose vIew or advIce Influences the buyIng decIsIon
0ecIder
The IndIvIdual wIth the power and/or fInancIal authorIty to make the ultImate choIce regardIng whIch
product to buy
ßuyer
The person who concludes the transactIon
User
The person (or persons) who actually uses the product or servIce

The famIly unIt Is usually consIdered to be the most Important "buyIng" organIsatIon In socIety. Ìt has
been researched extensIvely. |arketers are partIcularly Interested In the roles and relatIve Influence
of the husband, wIfe and chIldren on the purchase of a large varIety of products and servIces.
There Is evIdence that the tradItIonal husband·wIfe buyIng roles are changIng. Almost everywhere In
the world, the wIfe Is tradItIonally the maIn buyer for the famIly, especIally In the areas of food,
household products and clothIng. However, wIth IncreasIng numbers of women In full·tIme work and
many men becomIng "home workers" (or "telecommutIng") the tradItIonal roles are reversIng.
The challenge for a marketer Is to understand how thIs mIght affect demand for products and servIces
and how the promotIonal mIx needs to be changed to attract male rather than female buyers.

Buyer behaviour - Types of CuIturaI / SociaI infIuences
Cultural factors have a significant impact on customer behaviour.
Culture is the most basic cause of a person's wants and behaviour. Growing up, children learn basic
values, perception and wants from the family and other important groups.
Marketing are always trying to spot "cultural shifts¨ which might point to new products that might be
wanted by customers or to increased demand. For example, the cultural shift towards greater concern
about health and fitness has created opportunities (and now industries) servicing customers who wish to
buy:
· Low calorie foods
· Health club memberships
· Exercise equipment
· Activity or health-related holidays etc.
Similarly the increased desire for "leisure time¨ has resulted in increased demand for convenience
products and services such as microwave ovens, ready meals and direct marketing service businesses
such as telephone banking and insurance.
Each culture contains "sub-cultures¨ ÷ groups of people with share values. Sub-cultures can include
nationalities, religions, racial groups, or groups of people sharing the same geographical location.
Sometimes a sub-culture will create a substantial and distinctive market segment of its own.
For example, the "youth culture¨ or "club culture¨ has quite distinct values and buying characteristics from
the much older "gray generation¨
Similarly, differences in social class can create customer groups. Ìn fact, the official six social classes in
the UK are widely used to profile and predict different customer behaviour. Ìn the UK's socioeconomic
classification scheme, social class is not just determined by income. Ìt is measured as a combination of
occupation, income, education, wealth and other variables:
CIass
name
SociaI Status OccupationaI Head of HousehoId
% of UK
PopuIation
A Upper middle
Higher managerial, administrative or
professional
3
B Middle
Ìntermediate managerial, administrative or
professional
14
C1 Lower middle
Superiors or clerical, junior managerial,
administrative or professional
27
C2 Skilled working Skilled manual workers 25
D Working Semi-skilled and un-skilled manual workers 19
E
Those at lowest level of
subsistence
State pensioners or widows, casual or lower-
grade workers
12

b u y e r b e h a v I o u r - n e w p r o d u c t s
Customer buyIng process for new products
How do customers approach the process of buyIng a new product: How does thIs dIffer from the process
for buyIng a product whIch the customer has bought before: What Is meant by a "new product":
A new product can be defIned as:
¨A yood, servìce or ìdea that ìs "µerceìved" by some µotentìal customers as new. lt may have
been avaìlable jor some tìme, but many µotentìal customers have not yet adoµted the µroduct
nor decìded to become a reyular user oj the µroduct¨
Fesearch suggests that customers go through fIve stages In the process of adoptIng a new product or
servIce: these are summarIsed below:
Awareness · the customer becomes aware of the new product, but lacks InformatIon about It
Interest · the customer seeks InformatIon about the new product
EvaIuatIon · the customer consIders whether tryIng the new product makes sense
TrIaI · the customer trIes the new product on a lImIted or small scale to assess the value of the
product
AdoptIon · the customer decIdes to make full and/or regular use of the new product
What Is the roIe of marketIng In the process of new-product adoptIon!
A marketIng team lookIng to successfully Introduce a new product or servIce should thInk about how to
help customers move through the fIve stages.
For example, what kInd of advertIsIng or other promotIonal campaIgn can be employed to buIld
customer awareness: Ìf customers show a desIre to trIal or sample a product, how can thIs be arranged
effectIvely:
Fesearch also suggests that customers can be dIvIded Into groups accordIng to the speed wIth whIch
they adopt new products.
Fogers, In hIs InfluentIal work on the dIffusIon of InnovatIons, suggested the followIng classIfIcatIon:


The Innovators" (those who adopt new products fIrst) are usually relatIvely young, lIvely, IntellIgent,
socIally and geographIcally mobIle. They are often of a hIgh socIoeconomIc group ("A8's"). Conversely,
the "laggards" (those who adopt last, If at all) tend to be older, less IntellIgent, less well·off and lower
on the socIoeconomIc scale.
Ìt follows from the above model that when a busIness launches a new product or servIce, the customers
who buy fIrst are lIkely to be sIgnIfIcantly dIfferent from those who buy the product much later. ThIs
needs to be borne In mInd when developIng the marketIng mIx.

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